HomeQ&AWhy do people guess answers?

Why do people guess answers?


I have noticed that several people guess answers, answer incorrectly and still get votes. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of the "reputation"? Giving it a shot is great, but shouldn't we be more careful with our answers and with giving out points?

updated MAY 7, 2013
posted by LuisaGomezBartle

20 Answers


As for voting, I think that if an answer is honest but maybe not correct, it's up to the voter, which in some cases is the problem.

Estoy completamente de acuerdo con Jason en esto. Es indiscutible que todos tenemos derecho a contestar, aunque nos equivoquemos. Todos estamos acá para aprender, ustedes Español, yo agradezco las correcciones a mi Inglés. Pero a veces me llama la atención la cantidad de votos que obtienen las respuestas erróneas!!! Y es realmente confuso para la gente que lee ese hilo posteriormente, y que supuestamente espera aprender Español.


Quiero dejar expresamente asentado aquí que no me interesan en lo más mínimo los puntos por reputación o badges. Yo ya sé hablar Español... son ustedes los que quieren aprender y parece que la puntuación los motiva a la mayoría de ustedes!!!


Pido modestia y autocrítica... cada uno sabe hasta dónde puede llegar...

updated MAY 7, 2013
edited by Benz
posted by Benz
gracias Benz :) habla la verdad - Jason7R, JUL 10, 2010
Como siempre Benz, muy bien dicho. :) - galsally, JUL 11, 2010

I understand your question completely, Luisa. I've seen some answers thrown out there (usually by a new person) that make no sense whatsoever.

I agree with the others that we should include "This is just a guess....I'm not fluent....Let's wait for someone more advanced to confirm this........etc." when we are not sure of the answer. It's an obligation we have to the forum and to the original poster.

If later my answer turns out to be incorrect, I simply put "Edit: my answer is incorrect, please see Q's, Izanoni's, Heidita's etc. answer." That leaves my incorrect answer for all to see and learn from, including me, but gives the poster the correct information too.

updated JUL 10, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
Good idea Marianne :) - 003487d6, JUL 10, 2010
Thanks M. - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 10, 2010

Well, I would also say that it is an effective way of learning. When you try your best to help someone else with a concept that you feel you grasp relatively well, and then get to have someone else correct your mistakes and sharpen your knowledge even further, you learn more quickly than by just reading the questions and answers as they fly through the board.

As for people voting for wrong answers and defeating the point of reputation, that is their own problem.

And as for people who are lower level speakers trying to answer your questions, I doubt you should worry too much about it. I couldn't image someone having the audacity to throw out a random answer to a question, asked by someone who is advanced, that is probably way over their heads to begin with.

updated JUL 10, 2010
posted by megan5
Well said. That is exactly what I mean. Sometimes people trust answers because they see people's high reputation... - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 9, 2010
I agree with it not being about the point system, and totally understand your point. Maybe the solution would be to only allow those who have proven themselves sufficient in the language, through some other site participation, to post answers? - megan5, JUL 9, 2010
I think all people should be allowed to answer, so that beginners are not excluded everyone just needs to monitor themselves and be realistic about limitations.. - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 9, 2010
There are lots of things people do in life that they shouldn't do - that is just life. Accept it - may I suggest? - ian-hill, JUL 9, 2010
I was just wondering how you would say it. The more I learn the better. - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 10, 2010
The only coherent thing I found was "meddling" with the translation tool. Is that what you were looking for? - megan5, JUL 10, 2010
How about "Kibitzer," "meddlesome onlooker," "buttinsky," "busy-body"....would any of those work? - Izanoni1, JUL 10, 2010
I hope not if they refer to me :) - ian-hill, JUL 10, 2010
No....at least not from me.....I was just trying to give possible translations for "metiche" - Izanoni1, JUL 10, 2010
I know that Iza - believe me. - ian-hill, JUL 10, 2010
I have deleted my ghastly comments. I am sorry guys. - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 10, 2010

I think that it's great that people guess (correctly or incorrectly) as long as someone comes along to correct that error. We usually learn more from seeing errors corrected than from being shown the correct form originally. I would be nice if the author of the answer provides a disclaimer saying that he is not sure of his answer which I think is commonly done. (a simple..."not a native"...provides an explanation that "this is my best attempt with my limited knowledge on the subject".

As far as people accepting incorrect answers...I see that as the fault of the person that asked the question. You shouldn't accept an answer until someone has confirmed that answer (either by additional reply or by voting up the other person's reply).

updated JUL 10, 2010
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
When I answer a question, if I am not 100 percent sure I will let the asker know it "This may not be 100 percent right but it's my opinion that......" or something. That's all I ask instead of straight guessing. - jeezzle, JUL 9, 2010
thank you well said Q - nizhoni1, JUL 9, 2010
I like it when people leave the incorrect original when they make a correction so you can see the error in thinking/construction - nizhoni1, JUL 9, 2010
I agree. Most people change their answer to make it look like they already knew the right answer, unfortunately I have been told my the mods that you must change your answer if it is wrong. - jeezzle, JUL 9, 2010
Jeezle, I agree it's sometimes better to leave the incorrect answer so others can analyze the mistake, but you can strike through it or add a comment to let others know what you are doing. - 0074b507, JUL 9, 2010
That;s a good idea Qfreed, I will investigate the strikethrough option. Gracias. - jeezzle, JUL 9, 2010

Storm in a tea cup anyone?

Storm in a Tea cup Pictures, Images and Photos

updated JUL 10, 2010
posted by ian-hill
haha, love the picture. :) - megan5, JUL 10, 2010
More familiar with 'tempest in a tea cup', is this the British version? - LateToDinner, JUL 10, 2010
I guess we always tend to understate things. :) - ian-hill, JUL 10, 2010
picture, cute! - Silvia, JUL 10, 2010

Perhaps we should all qualify our questions and answers.

No guesses please.

This is a guess.

Two simple statements that help all participants.

I often write " my guess is" on an answer, because I am a mere beginner. I can't be 100% certain of any answer I give. I learn from corrections to my answers ( and others ), and thats why I'm here.

updated JUL 10, 2010
edited by fontanero
posted by fontanero

Gosh, Luisa, which are you more upset with ... the guessing or the voting?

Why do people guess answers?

And are you not asking for a guess when you phrase your question that way?

If you wanted to know why I guessed at that answer, you could have asked me. It certainly wasn't to upset you or the asker. As to why it got votes, I too wondered. I suspect it was because the response elicited a smile, but I won't know unless I ask that (or those) voter(s) now will I?

If this was a $10,000 per question Translation Site, I wouldn't even volunteer to translate ¡Hola!. But it isn't. There are sometimes when questions seem to be being ignored, viewed, but ignored. My experience is limited but what I have seen is that when someone attempts a translation on their own, help just pours in. And depending on who is on line, sometimes that is also true for a simple 'how do I say ...?' Other times they are told in no uncertain terms to use the dictionary and are sent packing. Sometimes a member that answers one of those simple questions can become subject to public ridicule.

By taking a stab at a translation, I at least create something that can be picked apart and/or improved upon.

I used to put a warning on my answers similar to : 'This is from a beginner, don't run with this until some of the experts weigh in.' I have gotten lazy about that, thank you for the reminder, but I've seen so many questions that don't seem to be revisited by the asker, so seldom a "Thank you, Q, or Gekko, or Marianne (and the hundreds of others) that well, I think most of our answers are really only seen by the other members. I didn't say always, but the blank stares far exceed the thank you's.

and on and on and on. Sorry.

updated JUL 11, 2010
posted by LateToDinner
Hola amigo, gracias por la conversación que tuviste en privado conmigo. En realidad lo aprecio muchísimo. - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 11, 2010

If this was followed to the letter of the law I would neither be able to answer a question nor post any thing because I am never that sure that what I say is either correct or would be accepted as a right or a reasonable answer or question . I hope I never get to that stage where I am totally sure or feel that I am infallible, but a good point none the less and worthy of consideration and discussion.

updated JUL 11, 2010
edited by ray76
posted by ray76
:)) - Izanoni1, JUL 10, 2010
Your posts are hilarious so you are always welcome to answer anything I post and I will always vote you. Just like I did right now. - jeezzle, JUL 10, 2010
exactly! - Silvia, JUL 10, 2010
Thank you so much ,it is a balance between being erudite, comical, and downright stupid ,I think i get one of them right . - ray76, JUL 11, 2010

You are right. It can be misleading. Sometimes I find that people give wrong answers and then they get the green check mark. When I see those sometimes I don't even open the question because I assume that someone already gave the correct answer. I just think that people should be more self aware, still try but let people know that they are not sure or something like that. It bothers me when people who are trying to learn the correct way are mislead into believing that they have the right answer, or when people see the green check mark they assume that the answer is correct and go with that as a fact.

updated AGO 25, 2010
posted by LuisaGomezBartle
One should never assume, you know what they say about that! - Silvia, JUL 10, 2010

You are right. It can be misleading. Sometimes I find that people give wrong answers and then they get the green check mark.

Luisa, I know your Spanish is proficient, please report any accepted answer which is not correct, thanks.

Jeezle, you are in your right not to accept or even wish "guesses", but it is essential not to doubt a native!

updated JUL 11, 2010
posted by 00494d19
But Heidita, look at how many 'native' English speakers get English wrong. I'm sure it happens on both sides at sometime or other. - LateToDinner, JUL 10, 2010
When I doubt a native Spanish speaker, I am not doubting their Spanish directly...I am doubting their understanding of the original English...which makes me doubt the Spanish only indirectly. I usually don't voice my doubts but may on occasion. - webdunce, JUL 10, 2010
This is true, a native is not "infalible", but if we say, hey, no native would say that and you refuse to unaccept ...why are you asking? If you know better anyway? I mean you in general of course - 00494d19, JUL 10, 2010
Hard to imagine someone refusing to unaccept ... do we know when the Rosary will be or where to send the flowers? - LateToDinner, JUL 10, 2010
I am not proficient, Spanish is my native tongue. - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 11, 2010

I agree and it does sort of blow my mind. There are always a few wrong answers or guesses in with the good answers. I have updated my profile to reflect my opinion on the matter. Still, I think people are answering as much as they can in order to feel more like part of the site so it's hard to fault people that are trying.

updated JUL 22, 2010
posted by jeezzle
you should probably post that request with your questions - nizhoni1, JUL 9, 2010
Well I don't want to rude about it. I like to be nice. - jeezzle, JUL 9, 2010
Me neither. - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 9, 2010
Just makes me wonder if I put some effort into an answer and you did not want it since I am neither expert nor native.I only looked at your profile again after you said that.It would have been nice to know that. - nizhoni1, JUL 9, 2010
Well you seem offended, but I don't consider you a beginner who is just guessing and think that's what we are talking about here. People that guess answers wihout any real insight. - jeezzle, JUL 9, 2010
I'm not saying "Hey don't answer if your not native" just "Please don't guess" and I was never rude about, not for a minute. I'm a very nice guy and I think everyone knows that, I thought that you did too. - jeezzle, JUL 9, 2010
people aren't going to see your request in your profile as a whole. better to be clear.Yes, when I read your profile it did offend me. - nizhoni1, JUL 9, 2010
Nizhoni, please don't feel offended. I am sure that is not his or my intention. We appreciate all effort, just not "thoughtless guesses". - LuisaGomezBartle, JUL 9, 2010
we run into things in cyberspace not meant to be offensive but appear to be so.More so than regular conversation. I got over it but it did look offensive - nizhoni1, JUL 9, 2010
In that case, I apologize. I never mean to offend and I especially like you nizhoni1 so I hope you are not offended. - jeezzle, JUL 9, 2010
I agree with nizhoni1. I thought your profile sounded arrogant. - Brynleigh, JUL 22, 2010

In my case, I have "guessed," the wrong answer on occasion. Let me tell you that after being, "gently," corrected by members of this forum, that incorrect answer will never be repeated again by me.

In those instances, my learning has been swift and sure. smile

updated JUL 10, 2010
edited by 002262dd
posted by 002262dd

When I answer a question, I usually put something like, these are my thoughts or here is what I think. I almost always put the gurus will weigh in soon. smile As for voting, I think that if an answer is honest but maybe not correct, it's up to the voter, which in some cases is the problem.

updated JUL 10, 2010
edited by Jason7R
posted by Jason7R

I think there are plenty of us ready to 'have a go', and also very ready to add that we are uncertain and advise waiting for a native speaker or advanced non-native to reply. I agree that this is generally a good thing, as Megan said, for the learning process.

However, there are also those who 'have a go' without stating this is all they are doing, which can lead to confusion as the site is so busy and everything moves on so fast that it's impossible for every thread to be checked by a reliable member.

I don't know what the solution is - just to be more careful I suppose, and try to ensure everyone fills in their profiles correctly so we can look and check whose answer we are accepting.

updated JUL 10, 2010
posted by galsally

Because it's fun...especially if you turn out to be right. grin

updated JUL 10, 2010
posted by webdunce
Reason enough for me, unless you get belligerent if someone points out your error. - 0074b507, JUL 10, 2010
oh, thanks , quentin, new word, and yes, i pointed that out, some people get agressive if you say no native would say that - 00494d19, JUL 10, 2010
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